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EMAC 2023 Annual

The Influence of Firm Network Entitativity on Consumers’ Trust Perception and Data Sharing Decisions

Published: May 24, 2023


Alina Gruener, University of Passau; Philipp Sleziona, University of Passau; Jan Schumann, University of Passau; Thomas Widjaja, Universtity of Passau


Retailers increasingly adopt business models in which they not only collect consumers' data for themselves but also share the data with third-party companies. Whereas initial research suggests that consumers tend to express negative attitudes toward such data-sharing networks, prior research on consumers’ data disclosure decisions solely focuses on dyads of consumers and their focal firm of contact. As of yet there is no research on network-level characteristics on consumers’ data disclosure decisions-making. The authors apply entitativity theory to the context of data-sharing networks and argue that consumers’ perceptions of the networks entitativity influence their data disclosure decisions. In line with this reasoning, the results of a consumer panel scenario experiment (N=370) show that entitativity influences consumers’ data disclosure decisions, such that network entitativity increases consumers' trust towards the network and consequently drives their willingness to provide data.